Wedding Ceremony Music
Your Wedding Ceremony
Civil Ceremonies in England & Wales involve a Superintendent Registrar (does the speaking) and a Registrar (does the writing)
There are usually four main points in the ceremony where you might want to use music and this may add up to about 12 songs.
Unless the venue has specifically said that they can provide generic music for you then you are directly responsible for obtaining it unless you've booked myself.
The Superintendent Registrar will want to know your choices in advance so they can check suitability.
Check who has responsibility for playing the music and will it be an abrupt [PLAY] / [STOP] or something smoother?
The entrance and exit songs may need the introduction pre-editing/skipping so that the desired parts of the songs actually get heard.
Choosing Specific Songs
Start by considering these main categories:
- Original classical music.
- Covers of modern songs but with a classical feel. Performers such as The Piano Guys, Vitamin String Quartet and Brooklyn Duo are easily commercially available.
- Original performances of modern songs that you may hear on the radio or your own music collection.
- Original instrumental versions of original songs.
You'll need to list for each choice the Artist/Performer - Song Title and ideally what Album it comes from.
YouTube is great for discovering and listening to options however all choices must be commercially/legally available.
- Background Waiting Music (20-25 minutes)
- Entrance (generally around 60 seconds chosen from one song)
- Register Signing (10 minutes)
- Walking Out Exit Music (start it with an impact)
1) Background Waiting Music
7 songs to cover 20-25 minutes
Your guests will assemble before the ceremony starts. During this time you are both seen by the Registrar & Superintendent Registrar for the final pre-marriage checks. It may take between 5-10 minutes per person for this. You may choose to do this together or individually. Most couples want one person to go first who then waits inside the ceremony room with your guests for the other to make a special entrance. Might not need all but choose around 7 songs to ensure you have enough.
1 song, generally 60 seconds
Usually for the entrance the music stops very soon after you're both at the front together. In several venues this means less than 60 seconds of music and needs some special preparation to make it sound right.
Take into account how the entrance will work e.g. people going in front? Where will they start from? Are they in view before entering the room? Do you want to enter to a special part of the song?
Bride and Groom - will the Groom be waiting inside at the front for the Bride to enter or will the Groom make a special entrance as well?
Bride and Bride or Groom and Groom - will one of you be waiting inside or will you both make either a simultaneous entrance or one after the other?
3) Register Signing
3 songs to cover up to 10 minutes
Background music is useful whilst most of your guests are watching and waiting.
The register signing involves a lot of important writing by the Registrar followed by signatures from yourselves, your witnesses, the Superintendent Registrar and the Registrar. Mistakes can be corrected but will follow through to all copies of the marriage certificate. This is one of the reasons that photography is not permitted at this stage as it may cause a distraction.
After the marriage register has been completed you can then pose for photography whilst the Registrar writes out the marriage certificate(s) that you receive.
This part of the ceremony may take up to 10 minutes so choose 3 songs and list them in priority order.
4) Walking Out Exit Music
1 song, choose the beginning
The Superintendent Registrar will ask everyone to stand to cheer and congratulate you as you walk out. Your walking out song will usually start as you begin to walk.
Depending on the choice of song and desires it's useful to make the immediate start of the music to be impactful. This requires the right volume and point in the song to start from otherwise it may still be playing the introduction after you've already left.